A good actor conveys an idea, a great actor conveys a feeling, a magnificent actor connects a feeling straight to your heart with a violin’s strings, this is what Brittany Murphy did in Sin City. She plays Shellie, a bartender in an abusive relationship with a “goddamn hero” cop. The cop, Jackie Boy played by the awesome Benicio Del Toro, however, is corrupt to the bones. He beats her to ‘feel like a man’, lies, and is very impulsive, all characteristics resembling a sociopath willing to resolve to extreme violence if pushed in the caricaturesque universe of the film. Murphy’s Shellie is broken but there is still a fight in her, she portrays this complex character by swinging between colorfully manifested moods and mindsets in a matter of minutes like a ballerina.
At first, Shellie challenges Jackie Boy, refusing to let him enter her apartment to abuse her again, then she teases him by bringing up how he beats her up to satisfy his manhood self-esteem issues.
In the next shot, Dwight (Owen) comes on the screen. Dwight is part of the fight still alive in Shellie, a shadow, he wants to engage the menace, but Shellie silences him, putting her hand on his mouth, muting her vengeful self.
After Jackie Boy sees Dwight’s shirt and Shellie senses he may become violent, she switches to a tender mood and panders to Jackie Boy with something she thinks will calm him down; her current boyfriend, Superman, had escaped the apartment to avoid an encounter with him.
Jackie Boy beats her anyway in a manner that reeks of policemen corruption and sociopathy. Shellie’s shadow speaks again and teases Jackie Boy by comparing him to her new boyfriend, a “real man.”
One of Jackie Boy’s thugs messes with Shellie and she threatens to cut his penis while waving a knife, her crazy eyes mean business, she too is willing to enact violence if pushed hard enough.
In the next shot, Dwight comes really close to killing Jackie Boy but he never finishes the job, Shellie and her shadow cannot kill Jackie Boy, they cannot exterminate the menace.
Jackie Boy learns his lesson and leaves Shellie’s apartment. Dwight, Shellie’s shadow, goes after him, he knows Jackie Boy is up to no good, Shellie asks him not to, it’s not in her to kill the sociopathic cop, she shouts to Dwight, “he’s a cop,” Dwight does not hear it, her shadow yearns to exterminate the menace.
In act two of The Big Fat Kill, we meet Miho. She’s a sword master, cold, collected, and willing to exercise her deadly skills when necessary, unlike Jackie Boy, Miho comes close to a psychopathic personality, and it is ruthless Miho, protector of night’s girls, who ends the menace, the psychopath knows how to handle the sociopathic cop.
Murphy gave an unforgettable performance in the her one scene in this movie, she is one of a few characters I truly sympathized with and felt their pain, power, fear, and resilience. May she rest in peace.